Europol’s Early Warning Notification published February 1 warns that as long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will seize the opportunity of producing and selling fake COVID-19 test certificates.
Several cases have already emerged of fraudulent COVID-19 test certificates being sold to travelers. A forgery ring selling negative test results to passengers was dismantled at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. In the U.K., fraudsters were caught selling bogus COVID-19 documents for £100. In the Netherlands, scammers were discovered selling fake negative test statements for EUR 50-60 through messaging apps. And in December, a fraudster was apprehended by the Spanish National Police for selling fake test results for EUR 40.
Europol has received additional intelligence on the alleged use of a mobile application by the Rathkeale Rovers Mobile Organized Crime Group which allows members of the group to manually falsify test results.
Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents.
Member states are encouraged to share any relevant information on criminal activities related to fake COVID-19 test documentation with Europol.